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Planned Parenthood president resigns

NEW YORK, July 22 -- The president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Pamela Maraldo, has resigned after a two-and-a-half-year tenure, officials announced Saturday. Maraldo, the former head of the National League for Nursing, became chief executive of Planned Parenthood in 1992.

Spokeswoman Susan Lamotagne Saturday denied reports Maraldo had been ousted in no-confidence vote by officials last week. 'It was her choice,' Lamotagne stressed. 'She accomplished what she set out to do, and now she is stepping down as president.' Maraldo initiated a plan that tightened security at abortion clinics following a number of violent attacks, including the December 1994 shooting death of Planned Parenthood worker Shannon Lowney at a clinic near Boston. Maraldo's resignation comes at a time when Planned Parenthood is debating whether it should stick solely to reproductive services or branch out into more general health services, Lamotagne said. 'That issue has been an ongoing debate within Planned Parenthood for months,' Lamotagne added. Planned Parenthood faces other pressing issues, as well. The House Appropriations Committee voted earlier this week to nullify part of Public Health Service Act of 1975. As a result, Planned Parenthood may lose $33 million in federal funding. Congress is also considering plans to prohibit late-term abortions and prevent Medicaid money from being used to finance abortions. Planned Parenthood's 158 not-for-profit affiliates operate nearly 1, 000 family planning clinics in 49 states and the District of Columbia. No successor has been named to replace Maraldo.

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